Mothers breast milk quality so poor they should use formula

An article in the Daily Mail today has a couple of interesting points to elaborate on for me.

Researchers are suggesting that male and female babies should have different formula ratios as they have found that the breast milk of mothers is different according to whether they have a boy or girl. Boys milk is higher in fat and protein and girls milk is higher in calcium. Also girls and boys respond different to the cortisol, stress hormone, in the milk.

Research also shows that the quality of breast milk varies greatly from woman to woman, with different amounts of vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats and other nutrients.
In some cases, the quality is so low that formula may be better.

I like the fact they researchers are looking more closely at breast milk and from this may develop better formula milks that are gender specific. If a mother can’t breast feed then wouldn’t it be great to give their baby a better formula? Actually, even if the mother has decided for what ever reason to not breast feed then their baby should still deserve a better formula.

I’m currently really interested in the statement “In some cases, the quality is so low (in breast milk) that formula may be better”. I have definitely been observing with patients that new mums eat very poorly and as a consequence their breast milk certainly could be low in protein and fat and vitamins and minerals. I am currently collecting diet diaries from new mums to analyse their food intake. If you are a new mum reading this please email me your foods from one day!

However, the statement that breast milk quality is low so switch to formula is a jump early for me. Surely, educating a new mother to eat a better diet should be the first stage!? New mothers typically eat; cereal, toast, cereal, sandwich, pasta, cereal… you get my point! They are busy with a new child and are finding it hard to look after themselves when they are putting all their love into their new baby. I think the problem here can often be a lack of support from others that may be able to help and even cook for them. I believe that in other cultures they would have been a large community and family support network and a new mother may not have to cook for themselves at all and would have all the best food given to them (Dr Western Price research).

Also a mothers breast milk will be prioritised to supply life to the newborn so in fact the nutrients will be stripped from the mother to give to her baby. This will leave the mother incredibly deficient once she stops breast feeding and can lead to a mother having her own health problems. In my experience this is absolutely true with mothers suffering fatigue, depression, anxiety etc. and it only gets worse the more babies you have. Of course this can all be avoided by eating really well and I believe this in general means upping your protein and fat intake. “Eating for two” means QUALITY not necessarily QUANTITY!

So there’s my quick take on this research. I always find the tabloid stories a good place to find new research on baby health and I like to make sense out of it practically for the mother and child. The reporting of it and the funding behind the research often biases it in a certain direction but they really is often some interesting knowledge to be gained from them.

Have a lovely day, Christian

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